Ty Pennington’s Extreme ADHD Makeover

While many celebrities are reticent to talk about their learning challenges, Ty Pennington has been vocal about his ADHD diagnosis. Pennington is the former host of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and today the co-host of “American Diner Revival.” He says he is proof that a person with ADHD can focus on one thing long enough to make it happen.

Ty Pennington’s Childhood Struggles with ADHD

For all of his childhood, he wasn’t aware that he had ADHD. In grade school, his hyperactivity seemed in the way of everything he tried to accomplish. As a result, he spent a lot of his time in the hallway or in detention. School was difficult. By his own account, Ty says he swung on the blinds, ran around the classroom, and playfully slapped other students on the back of the head. He would read a book but not remember a word, cause chaos in the classroom daily, and spend most of his time being disciplined instead of learning. He was finally officially diagnosed with ADHD while in college.

He spoke with Nicki Gostin of the Huffington Post about his childhood experiences with ADHD.

“My mom was studying to be a child psychologist and she went to my elementary school to test the worst kid they had. They were like, “Mrs. Pennington, you really don’t want to know who that is.” They let her observe me through a window and within 20 minutes I stripped naked, wore my desk around and swung on the blinds. I was just a complete distraction to all the other students.

Back then, they didn’t even know what to call it. They put me on antihistamines to try and make me drowsy. They tried everything. It certainly affected my confidence and my belief in myself. When everyone’s afraid you’re going to hurt yourself from just mowing the lawn, you start to believe them. Once I figured out I was pretty decent at art and people were interested in hiring me, I realized I had a skill besides injuring myself.

What’s kind of funny is that I ended up working with power tools to pay my way through art school and still have all my digits.”

Finding Creativity Amid the Chaos

Pennington admits that ADHD hurt his confidence and his belief in his own abilities, but he found success by pursuing art, design, and carpentry. Later a modeling scout approached him and he began a career in print advertising, TV, and endorsements. Pennington was able to leverage his photogenic appearance, charismatic sense of humor, and love for carpentry into his own empire of television shows, magazine publications, home fashion designs, and personal appearances. He also won an Emmy award for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

Today he manufactures his own line of furniture and writes a regular column for Enjoy magazine in addition to his work in television. Ty Pennington is proof that no matter how strong the symptoms of ADHD might be, they can be harnessed into a creative and fulfilling career.

Celebrities with ADHD: Ty Pennington


Searching for the right college for your soon to be graduating student? Consider this….

ADHD Friendly Colleges

Sink or Swim?

Congratulations on having a student who is ready for college! You are one of the lucky few – only 22% of high school students with ADHD go on to attend college. For most parents of students with ADHD it’s been a long journey getting here and you probably don’t feel out of the woods yet.

  • Are you looking for a supportive college environment for a student with ADHD?
  • Are you worried what will happen when your child leaves the structure and accountability of high school and home?
  • Perhaps you’re concerned they’ll be swept up by the freewheeling life of college – and you know that having access to a tutoring center or getting extended time on their tests won’t be enough to help your student succeed on his or her own.

Read on!  You aren’t alone.

Every parent faces the joys and worries that come with pushing their young adult child out of the nest. But for the parent of a student with ADHD, the fear lies in knowing their child is totally in charge of making all of their own decisions in college – and is sometimes a recipe for disaster. In fact, research has shown that as few as 5% of ADHD students who enter college end up graduating. The Edge Foundation knows how to help ADHD students be successful and we have facilitated a two year scientific study to prove* that our model works. Find out today how Edge Foundation can help your son or daughter succeed in college.

ADHD Students are “At Risk” Students

Students with ADHD are vulnerable because ADHD impacts the higher portion of the brain that regulates executive functioning. ADHD students usually have executive function deficits in attention, planning and organization, prioritization, impulse control, memory, time management, and higher-order conceptual thinking. Executive functioning levels are well known by researchers to be a an important part of academic success. Experts agree that successful students usually have four qualities that help them achieve their goals:

  1. Sticking with things even when the going gets tough (perseverance),
  2. Ability to delay gratification and focus on the big picture,
  3. Time management and organizational skills, and
  4. Striking the right balance between fun and work.

If your student has weaknesses in at least one of these areas, they may be at risk to struggle with their ADHD in college. ADHD students don’t have to be “at risk” students.  An Edge Coach can help teach the very skills your student needs to be successful in school.

Broaden Your Options

When your student works with an Edge Coach, the options of where to go to school broaden. You no longer have to find a school that caters to ADHD because your student can bring their support system with them! An Edge Coach can help your student

  • Get better organized,
  • Achieve personal goals,
  • Effectively manage time, and
  • Stick with things when the going gets rough.

Call us (1-888-718-8886) or sign up today to find out more about how Edge Foundation’s proven model can help your ADHD student succeed in school.

Get Started Early

Students with ADHD shouldn’t have to fail before they get support.  Students and their families should think about getting started with a coach even before college begins. Many students find they have a first rough term. But for students with ADHD, it is surprisingly easy to fall behind and poor, or even failing, first-term grades can be a devastating blow to self-esteem and confidence. Or perhaps your college student has already experienced these challenges. It’s not too late to have an Edge coach help them get back on track.  Our recently completed research* shows students who receive coaching have substantial gains in their overall approaches to learning — in other words, they become more effective students! Would you like to learn more about the techniques the research proves helps students succeed? There’s no obligation if you call us (1-888-718-8886) or sign up today to find out more about how ADHD coaching can make the difference between success and failure in school.

Choose Your School Carefully

If you still feel like you want to look into schools that are focused towards learning disabilities and ADHD, here are two references that can help you choose a school that will fit your needs. But remember, very few colleges and universities will offer personal coaching. The skills your student needs won’t be taught in the tutoring center or helped with extended time taking tests.

Coaching Helps Students Succeed

Edge Foundation’s research study offers hope for students with ADHD because it definitively links coaching to improved Executive Functioning. And improved Executive Functioning means more success in school. ADHD students who participated in Edge coaching sessions demonstrated statistically significant, higher Executive Functioning than ADHD students who did not receive coaching. * Coaching has long been used by the corporate world to improve performance of CEOs and executives, but little study had been done until now on the impact this particular kind of intervention has on those living with ADHD. While medication can improve academic productivity (better note-taking, scores on quizzes and worksheets, and homework completion), medication alone is not associated with skills like better organization, time management, or the ability to apply knowledge, all of which are critical in a successful post secondary education.  Coaching will! If you’re still on the fence about whether or not your student needs an Edge coach, today is the day to take the first step.  If you need a little more convincing before you sign up, why not download our free guide to college success?